In his talk, “Talent Not to Be Missed,” City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Juan Salgado explores an often-overlooked path out of poverty: community colleges.
Salgado discusses how during the 2008 recession, the United States lost 5.6 million jobs for those with a high school diploma or less –– and those jobs were never recovered. But those with an associate degree or bachelor’s degree gained 3.1 million and 8.4 million jobs in the same recovery period, further widening income disparities.
According to Salgado, 60 percent of students at CCC are first-generation college students, and 75 percent of students are Black or Latino. Furthermore, many of these students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. According to Salgado, 44 percent experienced food insecurity, while 54 percent had an unstable housing situation.
Salgado says that community colleges are the least-resourced higher education institutions, operating with significantly fewer dollars per student than public and private four-year universities.
“This is no surprise,” Salgado says in his talk. “The entire system of education from birth through college invests more and more in the people and places that have more and less in the people and places that need it the most.”